Meeting between the cultures

In this task partipants create wiki pages about their home culture, confront them in talk sessions with their exchange partners and modify in response to the issues raised during the discussion.

From the discussion, they may get different perspectives toward their own culture and new understandings toward the target culture.

Institution reporting the task:

Wyzsza Szkola Lingwistyczna

Language of task instructions:


Target Group:

Foreign languages



References and acknowledgements:



Collaborative tasks

Estimated Duration:

4 sessions







Language Configurations:

Lingua Franca

Language(s) that the task can be used in:


Dominant language production:

Writing/reading asynchronous
Speaking/listening synchronous

Target Competences:

Language competence
Intercultural skills
Online communication skills

Specific pedagogical objectives:

Development of students interest in cultural similarities and differences

Suggested Communication Tools:

Collaborative tools
Real time conferencing

Suggested Resources:



This is a very broad task in which the students create WIKI pages about their home culture and discuss them online in talk sessions with their partners. The tasks consists
in the following phases:

  1. Before the first talk session, the participants are asked to construct two pages on a previously prepared wiki site. On the first page, they describe their home culture with special emphasis on describing their school and leisure life as well as their ambitions. On the second page, they describe their current experience, impression or understandings towards the target culture and mention the questions or areas they&#39 d like to explore regarding the target culture.
  2. The participants read the wiki pages prepared by their partners and form their input they form their ideas for the online chat. They should focus on what the target culture is like from their partner&#39 s point of view and also what questions or understandings their exchange partners hold for their home culture. While the participants read the two pages, they may
    also help correct some of their exchange partner&#39 s linguistic errors by using the co-authoring function of WIKI pages
  3. After reading the WIKI pages, the participants conduct their first talk sessions with their partnering groups or students. They are encouraged to &#39 listen&#39 carefully to their partner&#39 s response and ask further questions according to the response. Ethnographic interviewing skills are introduced to the participants so that they can practice these skills while they conduct the real-time conversation online. If learners study different languages,
    they can co-switch between them.
  4. After the talk, the participants will revisit their WIKI website and revise the content of their two WIKI pages according to the new understandings they&#39 ve got from the online talk. They may modify the content on their home culture page by adding in the aspects they&#39 ve been asked by their exchange partner, talk about their new understandings on the target culture page and increase the width and depth of the questions they want to explore further toward the target culture. The participants are encouraged to make at least three changes to each page. These changes will then serve as the new input for the next talk session, for which they can either continue the previous talk by discussing the old information or starting new topics from the new input they&#39 ve added to the WIKI pages.

The originally suggested number of sessions is 5

Learner Texts:


Document related to the task:

Hung, diagram.pdf

Criteria for Completion:

In the original task the participants are to take part in 5 online sessions this, however, can be either reduced or extended.

After each talk session, the participants forward the chat history to the researcher. In the same email, the participants are required to describe any problems they encounter in the talk. The problems can be cultural, linguistic, technological, or personal ones the purpose is to avoid any possible misunderstandings in the process of interaction and also for the researcher to evaluate the participants attitude toward the exchange. The researcher will then reply the emails by answering the problems the participants raise and also by highlighting some parts in the chat history with some questions or comments. The participants are encouraged to discuss more with the researcher on these questions or comments.

Comments and suggestions:

Before the exchange starts, the researcher can send each participant a questionnaire which aims to realise their cultural background and the dates they are available for the synchronous online chat. Based on the information collected from the questionnaire survey, the participants are then paired. Each pair then conducts the five online chat sessions on their own specific dates.

At the end of the exchange project, the participants are asked to fulfil a post-task questionnaire which aims at understanding how learners perceive the exchange project in terms of helping them enhance their cultural, linguistic, and technological competences.

The tools originally used in the exchange were:

– a course website set up in the Blackboard Learning System,

– Google talk for synchronous communication ( as it has integrative design, which embeds the talk function within the email interface. All the chat history is stored automatically in a format similar to emails, which can be edited with all the functions available for editing regular emails and then be forwarded to other users)

– Wiki technology (e.g. PBworks).


Hung, Shu-Mei.(2007) Intercultural communicative competence in telecollaborative foreign language learning. Available: